Sunday, June 1, 2014

A New Beginning

It's just a new blog post...nothing too exciting.  :)

Ok, it HAS been a while.  Soon after my last post I got a new job with a 1-hour each way commute that cut seriously into my blogging time, not to mention sleeping and other recreational activities.  In August of 2013 I moved to Copperas Cove which reduced the commute but I just haven't gotten back into the habit of blogging my projects or the group efforts at Open Shop. We have lots of new fighters up here and Open Shop has typically attracted from 15-30 participants each week.

My wife is encouraging me to keep better notes on my projects and this is a handy way to accomplish that purpose while possibly inspiring/encouraging/goading others, so I will try this again and see how it goes.

So, my beloved lady enjoys both 11th century Scottish/Saxon culture and learing about rapier fighting.  I got her a shiny new mail shirt for Christmas (see RingMesh ) so clearly she needs a nice 11th century rapier-legal helm to go with it.  Right?

I started by adapting a spangenhelm pattern to fit her and be a bit more conical in profile.  I made it out of 18g. stainless to minimize maintenance and be sufficiently durable for both rapier and possible cut-and-thrust use.

Then I ordered some stainless perf-plate from Online Metal Supply through Amazon . I got a 12x24 sheet of 16g. 304 stainlesss with 3/16 holes, which should be enough for several projects. I trimmed a rectangle of perf plate to give a slightly rounded look and then gave it a 2-dimensional curve to tuck in nicely behind the nasal of the helm.  Then I coated it with vegetable oil and baked it at 550 degrees to give a dark brown finish.

Next I shaped a piece of chrome-tanned leather to attach to the bottom of the faceplate and tuck under the chin  to eliminate any possible shot path.  While I was at it I made a couple of leather pieces to wrap around the sides of the perf plate to make it more human-friendly.  Willoc prepared a batch of leather dye using tannin, cutch and fustic and we dyed it to resemble the color of the faceplate.  These pieces will be attached to the perf plate with copper rivets before the faceplate gets riveted to the helm.

I made a leather piece for the back of the head and on the second try got it to fit correctly and overlap the faceplate on the sides.  Since we had previously made a hardened leather gorget (see earlier post) we tooled and dyed this piece to match.  Next it will need to be soaked in glue and baked to harden and seal it, before riveting it to the helm.

Here it is with the pieces set together as if they were actually assembled.

There is still more work needed but I'm making progress.  I hope you enjoyed the update.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Helm size formula

If a head was round , the circumference C would equal 2*pi*r.  So the radius of the head would equal C/(2*pi). 

The circumference of a padded helm with .75" of padding CH should equal 2*pi* (r+.75).  Replacing the r with the formula above gives CH=2*pi* (C/(2*pi)+.75).   Simplify to CH=C+(2*pi*.75) Again for our 23" head this gives a helm circumference of 27.71" or an additional 4.71 inches of circumference to allow for padding.  Round it up to 5.

To put it another way, multiply the amount of padding to be added by 2pi or 6.28 to get the amount to add to the helm circumference.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Thinking about Elizabethan-era elbow cops...

I stared by looking at this pattern:
and thinking "why couldn't that be made as one piece instead of 3?"

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Well, it has been over a month since my last post, but Open Shop keeps happening every week.  Here are a few highlights:

 Wyllow has been sewing up the corset for her new Elizabethan outfit.
 Marita returned to open shop after a long abscence to get help with a weaving project.
 Daniel has an armour plan.  It is good to have a plan.  I find that a head-to-toe plan for a kit and how it will be made/acquired really helps folks stay on track and get out on the field in a nice kit they can wear with pride.  See my armour planning article with sample plans at

 Grain'e has new splinted vambraces, used for both cut-and-thrust and armoured fighting.
 Dietrich came by for a visit and showed his sketches for a new late 14th century kit inspired by armour from the collection at Churburg.  See

 Wolf finished his body armour, meant to be worn under a Mongolian "del".  See

 Ben is working on some armour of scales interwoven into mail.  He has also nearly completed a gorget of hardened leather with steel re-enforcement in the front.

 One method for doing steel repouse is to work the steel into a pitch backing.  If some of the pitch sticks to the work piece you can just burn it off with a torch.  This really is as much fun as it looks!

 Diedre's Vendel helm is nearly finished!  4 more rivets and then she can pad and strap it.

 For Grain'e we made an aluminum back-of-the-head protector to wear with a mask for cut-and-thrust fighting.
 Fun and cookies!

 Troy is making a coat-of-plates with plates of 18g. stainless.
 Here he is drilling holes in the plates with the drill press before attatching them to the cloth shell with rivets made from roofing nails.
 Wolf is dshing some knees for Grain'e as part of a complicated exchange that I believe involves lasagna.
Grain'e's knees are a perfect fit for her son Peter to wear as a skull cap.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hammer - In 2012!

The 2012 Hammer-In sponsored by the North Texas Blacksmith Association ran from noon Friday Aug. 31 to noon Monday Sept. 3rd. I arrived Friday evening and had a full weekend of learning, playing with metal, and meeting some of the colorful characters of the armouring world. Friday evening got off to a great start as I met the one-and-only Ugo Serrano. I looked at the repouse' tools that he uses and the ones brought by Mykaru. Then, working with Jim Sotelo (Ameliano) I cut up 2 foil blades, a broken epee, and two 3' lengths of piano wire (pre-hardened 1060 rod in 3/16" and 1.4") into tool-length bits. Some of these bits I turned into repousse' and chasing tools.